|“||There are times I don't like myself very much.||„|
|~ Peter Throndyke|
|“||Are you presuming to tell me what to do in my establishment?||„|
|~ Peter Thorndyke to Jim Douglas|
|“||You keep your eye on your friend in the Bug, my dear. I'm going to squash him.||„|
|~ Peter Thorndyke tells Carol Bennet his plan to win against Jim Douglas.|
Peter Thorndyke is the main antagonist in The Love Bug. He was portrayed by David Tomlinson who played George Banks from Walt Disney's Marry Poppins.
He is a car salesman and race car driver by profession. He owns a European Imported Car dealership and sells Herbie to Jim Douglas. He was discovering that Jim was winning by Herbie and wanted to dispose of him. He planned to take Herbie off of Jim Douglas's hands and offer to pay him $1,000. Tennessee Steinmetz however, didn't like the idea, and Jim wasn't impressed either. Later, when Jim and Carol Bennett test drove the Thorndyke Special, Mr. Thorndyke visited Tennessee at his workshop. They had a couple mugs of Irish coffee together and discussed Jim's racing career. Unbeknownst to Tennessee however, Mr. Thorndyke put some Irish coffee into Herbie's gas tank. This caused Herbie to spin out of control during the next race, and the engine stalled as well. Luckily, Tennessee and Carol were both able to successfully get Herbie running like new. Unbeknownst to them however, Jim had purchased a red Lamborghini. When he arrived later that night, both Tennessee and Carol became suspicious. Thorndyke then called and planned to take Herbie off of Jim's hands, this time for $1,500. Jim, realizing that he could use the money for the Lamborghini, gladly accepted the deal. Unfortunately, when Tennessee and Carol found out, they were both very angry, which led to a heated argument. In all the confusion, Herbie attacked the Lamborghini. Outraged, Jim retaliated, only to be restrained by Carol and Tennessee. Thorndyke himself arrived shortly afterwards and offered to increase the agreed money amount to $2,000. Jim however, realized the offer was not worth it, and subsequently rejected the deal. His men however, on Thorndyke's orders, used a tow truck and successfully took Herbie back to the showroom. He then ordered them to take Herbie apart, but right at that very moment, the car drove itself through a large glass window and successfully escaped. Later, at an impound garage inside a police station, a Chinese car salesman named Mr. Wu discovered Herbie and made a deal with Tennessee and Jim: win the El Dorado race, and the car will be theirs. Tennessee and Jim, excited that they can have Herbie back, both gladly accepted the deal.
Later, Mr. Wu met with Thorndyke. They bargained with each other and made a deal: Win the El Dorado race, and the car will be his. However, if Douglas wins, then Mr. Wu will be allowed to take full ownership of his showroom. He accepted the deal, and completely understood the consequences that would take place should Douglas win. However, despite everything, Douglas was declared the official winner of the El Dorado race. Throndyke is now a mechanic in Wu's Car Shop. Despite his villainous character, Thorndyke appears to be a very skilled racing driver, finishing behind only Douglas in the various races in the movie. He also wins the race before the El Dorado event.
His most famous car is a yellow GT car with black stripes he calls the "Thorndyke Special", which is actually an Apollo 3500 GT. He also drives a red Ferrari and a black Jaguar in various races in the film. He owns and uses a black right-hand-drive Rolls Royce as a personal vehicle as well.
Although, never specifically mentioned in the movie, Thorndyke appears to be British, as he speaks with a thick British accent. Furthermore, actor David Tomlinson was British.